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  • Writer's pictureRobert Currer

Ballywhack Shack: Artisan Sandwiches and Craft Beverages

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

Occoquan is a walking town. The historic architecture and rolling streets are best enjoyed on a stroll. As you take in the fresh air, you’ll come across the Ballywhack Shack nestled among the shops of Mill Street.

This Occoquan treasure is the place to stop for a counter-service lunch of artisan sandwiches and refreshing beverages. It’s the perfect complement to any ramble around town.

A Decade of Passion

Sherry Mangas, owner and founder of the Ballywhack Shack, has been delivering fantastic sandwiches in Occoquan for over a decade. Her career of service in town began as a manager of the iconic Blue Arbor Cafe, where she worked for 10 years.

Following Blue Arbor’s closure, Mangas made the leap into her own sandwich shop. Taking over a lemonade stand on Mill Street, she transformed the modest space into a stand of edible artistry in July 2019. Since then, Ballywhack Shack has served some of Occoquan’s most creative and delightful meals and beverages.

A Little Box of Satisfaction

The first thing people notice about the Ballywhack Shack is its size. It’s essentially a “9 by 10 food truck without wheels,” quipped Mangas. Yet, from the cute-sized space, the Ballywack Shack offers giant-sized flavors.

Next, customers notice the name. They roll Ballywhack around in their mouths, savoring the feel of the word. And most are delighted to discover the name is borrowed from a local creek that feeds into the Occoquan River. With a name as satisfying as the food, it’s no surprise patrons repeat it as often as they can.

The Fine Art of Sandwiches

While the adorable location and fun-to-say name are intriguing, guests stay for the food. The Ballywhack Shack is a specialist establishment that devotes itself to the fine art of sandwiches, hot dogs, and craft beverages.

They may provide counter service, but this is no fast food joint. Instead, Ballywhack Shack takes pride in delivering craft creations you can find nowhere else. For example, the Twisted Sister is a local favorite. It combines savory black forest ham and the creaminess of brie with the bite of granny smith apples. This combination provides a rounded flavor profile that delights the taste buds.

The Shack sources their ingredients daily from local providers. They do this to ensure quality and freshness. This care in preparation also allows them to serve gluten-free options.

Craft beverages make up another staple of Ballywhack's offerings. Their coffees use fresh beans roasted and blended exclusively for them by a roaster in Vienna, Virginia. Italian sodas offer a refreshing fizz on hot summer days and come in 15 flavors. But the hands-down fan favorite is Ballywhack's lavender lemonade. While the Shack offers several different flavors, lavender is by far the most popular for its surprising balance.

Whatever you indulge in at Ballywhack, service keeps conservation in mind. All flatware and food service containers are biodegradable. Compostable packaging ensures the Shack's carbon footprint stays low.

Get To Know Ballywhack Shack

Occoquan is a town to be experienced on foot. As you stroll around, taking in sights, be sure to stop off at the Ballywhack Shack. Grab a sandwich and enjoy their outdoor seating or take it to the park for a picnic. Either way, the flavors of Ballywhack Shack are not to be missed.

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